Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Life at UAS

It looks like I'm going to be extremely busy during the coming year. Many of you may wish to know I'm teaching Geography to Seventh Graders and another class called "English enhancement" for students with ESL needs. The geography class I think I can handle, but I'm uncertain about the "English Enhancement" class. I'm thinking of trying to get them some time in the computer lab and giving them all blogs to write for writing practice. I get the impression most of them have issues with reading comprehension and vocabulary.

Like Japan, there is still much I don't understand, so I'm trying to be patient and not judge or compare the school or the country too much. But, a period of adjustment definitely will be required!

Socially, I'm kind of lonely. I'm meeting a lot of wonderful new teachers, students, and others, but I feel kind of lonely and unplugged. I'm missing a limb here in Kuwait and I just have to grow a new one.

But I'm doing my best at my job and trying to be social.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Summarized Happenings in Kuwait

Since I arrived in Kuwait, I've done the following:

1. Developed a tasted for Lebanese and Afghani food. There's some good food here, but none of it is particularly healthy. Lots of fried foods and deep fried foods. Arab food also includes lots of very sweet stuff that is no doubt loaded with saturated fat and cholesterol. I've found some healthy staples, but eating out will no doubt bring about unhealthy habits.

2. Searched around for a health club or Gym to join to replace Peare. Most of the gyms and healthclubs in Kuwait are segregated by sex. So it looks like I'll be joining a gym that's all males.

3. Gone to a number of new teacher in-service sessions, attended meetings, and done a number of tasks to prepare for the upcoming year in school. I've been busy.

4. Done my best to move into my new apartment on my limited funds. I'm now on the fourth floor of what has been dubbed the "Hawali Hilton" by the resident staff of Universal American School. I reside in a small efficiency apartment with only slightly more square footage than my apartment in Japan and only one bedroom.

5. Gone shopping at numerous places for various household necessities. I'm trying to hold off until my first real paycheck, but I have since bought a rice cooker, and a telephone. I'm not sure how to work the phone yet (or if it works).

6. Shopping and looking around at the old Souk (market) here in Kuwait. A friend took me down on the bus for a visit. I scored an old school Iranian coin with the Shah of Iran. The store also had heaps of giant Persian carpets made from silk. Some were positively huge. They featured all sorts of designs, from traditional Persian themes to Hollywood movie stars. I saw one large silk rug with Leonardo D'Caprio in Titanic that was shockingly well rendered. Wish I'd had my camera.

7. Forgetting to bring my camera anywhere I go! I'll have some pictures of various places up soon! Not that there is much to photograph. The area I live in is not exactly Beverly Hills. I live near a computer district filled with dozens (hundreds?) of tiny shops all selling the same 50 computer components and accessories.

8. Taking care of matters for my visa and long awaited civil ID card. All foreigners in Kuwait (most of the country) are required to carry a civil ID. I had to take a chest X-ray, HIV/Hepatitis A test AGAIN, and I just got fingerprinted this morning. This was the most awful part of living in Kuwait so far.
Because I and most of the other teachers are white people from developed countries, we get pushed to the front of the line (8 hours long) in the government offices. Imagine waiting at the DMV for 4 hours and 20-something VIPs come and get to cut in line. The Bangladeshi guy didn't like it either. I felt awful about it, but did what I was told. I hope I don't have to do that again.

Fanta Commercials

I found these Japanese Fanta Commercials my friend Paula's blog. Pretty hilarious if I say so myself.

Japanese Fanta Commercials

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

That Irresponsible Uncle

I must apologize to my sister and brother-in-law for a belated congratulations on their new baby. I only hope they can try and understand the transitions and stress I'm going through right now with moving to Kuwait and all. I've been very busy and very stressed.

Friends of my family no doubt already know my sister gave birth to a baby boy last week. Seth Andrew Holler decided to finally make his debut in Kentucky last week on Thursday evening. So I am officially an uncle now. Pretty cute for a newborn if I say so myself.

It was yesterday night that I was with all the new teachers at a swanky Lebanese restaurant for the official Universal American School new teacher welcoming party. We were all stuffing our faces with hummus, olives, and kebabs and making polite small talk. One woman was there with her husband and two young kids. I was having fun teasing their young daughter with stupid human tricks and other silly jokes. While the following seldom occurs when I make attempts at humor, I had their daughter, and most of the rest of the table in stitches. Not long after, the woman remarked, "You know, you're probably one of those crazy uncles who gets to have all kinds of fun corrupting kids but no responsibility for raising them."

I smiled, and said, "yep!" While I don't know if children are in my future or not yet, I at least know I can be that crazy black sheep uncle who shows up at family gatherings and fosters endearment with flatulence, bathroom humor, and wildly inappropriate gifts that kids love and parents dread. The potential damage I can inflict on this innocent young mind will no doubt require years of therapy, letters to Dear Abby, and perhaps even an appearance on Maury Pauvich.

So I say, to my sister and her no doubt sleep deprived grad school husband: Well done! These are pictures of my new nephew. As my dad noted, Jr's not a week old and he's already smirking and copping an attitude!

Friday, August 17, 2007

دولة الكويت!

Well, for anyone who may not know, I arrived here in Kuwait safe and sound. I've been here about 24 hours now. My initial impressions are as follows.

1. This country is very HOT.
2. This country is very DUSTY.
3. Kuwait has great Indian food.
4. Kuwait has a lot of computer stores.
5. Kuwait has a lot of Jewelry stores.
6. Everyone at Universal American School seems really friendly.
7. Did I mention that this country is HOT?

I went down this morning to see the school and get some work done. The Middle School principal said things were still being arranged, but that I would be teaching social studies and language arts. He gave me a brief tour of the school. Its kind of odd, because the school is gargantuan compared to the desks, lockers, chairs, and other furniture in the classroom. The architects probably tried to make it imposing.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

See Dave Grow a Beard!

Before leaving for Kuwait, I went to Los Angeles to visit one of my best friends, David Hanson.
David works as a church youth and college/young adult ministries pastor in Camarillo, California, just north of Los Angeles. We've literally known each other since we were born, but also went to college together.

We tried to catch a boat out to the Channel Islands north of Los Angeles, but that didn't work out very well. The boat was already booked when we called, and standby didn't look promising at all.

So after the Channel Islands thing didn't work out, we just hung out while Dave showed me around his area. While we didn't do anything really special, we had a great time catching up with each other. I literally have not seen David Hanson in three years. We went hiking and stuck our feet in a big tar pit and walked along a beach near Santa Barbara. That evening we held a BBQ for ourselves and some of Dave's friends in California. We grilled up a big hunk of tri-tip, but we kind of built the fire a little too hot and burnt the meat.

However, I also cooked peach cobbler for the first time in ages. His friends all raved about it (something I'm used to), and it came out perfectly. One thing's for sure: you have to try if you want to mess up peach cobbler.

He drove me to the Airport so that I might board my flight to Kuwait. Anyways, here's my best bud Dave and his new Spartan beard that caught the eye of the TSA.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Skydiving in Longmont

As readers of my father's blog probably know by now, I spent Saturday afternoon in Longmont Colorado jumping out of an airplane. That's right folks, I went skydiving. I called up a company that works out of an airport in Denver's northern suburban edges. Then I paid them a heap of money to fly me up into the sky and let me jump out of an airplane.

It was a great day. I got up to the hangar and checked in. I signed six pages of liability release forms before waiting around for my tandem instructor to show me how to do things. Finally, "Dave" showed up. Some readers will laugh when I tell them that "Dave" was very much like Dave Pedersen from NAU. Only this Dave was bigger, louder, and walked with a lot more swagger.

He showed me how we would jump and we got on the truck to take us out to the airplane. We got on some twin engine prop plane with a small door at the airport that took off quickly. The sliding door on the airplane was partly opened as we climbed into the sky. It was at that point I realized how absurd the situation was. I was going to jump out of an airplane strapped to a musclebound adrenaline junky.

When it happened though it was great. Actually falling out of the airplane happened extremely quickly. I was slightly disappointed that the airplane as I fell out of the plane, but I'm not complaining. Floating through wind and space, I watched Long's Peak to the North and the distant, but rapidly approaching suburban landscape of Longmont. The big box stores, controlled access freeways and airport runway slowly swelled with the wind in my face. While the freefall was less than 2 minutes, it really took an eternity.

Then Dave brought me back to reality screaming "PULL! PULL! PULL!..." So I pulled the orange golf ball on the rip cord and released the parachute. The harness groaned as the canopy caught the air. The instructor showed me how to steer for a couple minutes and then told me to hold my feet up as we came down. The landing was far softer than I imagined, but I have a feeling that that was his skill more than a typical experience. Hard to say, but I have a feeling not all landings are created equal.

But people! You absolutely HAVE to do this! This is the greatest rush you could ever imagine! You will never regret doing something like this! I'm definitely going to do this again!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Bronco's Training Camp 2007

I've spent the last week here in the Denver area with my folks. One of the highlights of the week was going with my Dad to the Denver Bronco's annual gear-up and preparation for the season. Yes folks, Friday concluded the second and last week of "Bronco's Training Camp." Millions of Bronco's fans turn up at their sprawling training facility to watch Mike Shanahan whip the Broncos into shape.

And like all people who need to get a life, Bronco fans call in sick and go down to watch the Denver defence play the Denver offense. Two really great things about Bronco's training camp: 1. You have front row seats on the grass. 2. Its totally free. Companies even give away free ice cream and orange colored milk (that actually tastes good).
For those of you who don't know, the Denver Broncos stand triumphant as the greatest football team in the history of the universe. Being at the pinnacle of their craft, the Broncos have to train hard to maintain their edge. So they run a real tight ship. My father and I watched with gaping mouths as the well oiled machine relentlessly executed drills and plays. After warming up, the offense played the defense for two solid hours. Shanahan and the other coaches would blow their whistles and the lineup would change in seconds. They wouldn't waste a minute. The entire team appears to be very disciplined and very well organized.

This year looks somewhat promising. They got rid of Plummer and it looks like they are giving the QB job to Jay Cutler. He's real big and real fast. He can throw fast too. I'm not sure yet, but they may have a new Lumberjack backup quarterback named Preston Parsons. There were actually a few NAU alumni who are Bronco's now.

We got to see a number of other faces up close. Esteemed veteran John Lynch was certainly visible (see picture below, left) but then again he was the only old white guy there besides Shanahan). I certainly hope I'm half as buff as Lynch when I'm 36. Sam Adams, at 6'4" and 350 pounds ranks among the biggest people I've ever seen. Preston Parsons threw a touch down pass that some other guy caught not ten feet in front of us.
Yeah, the Bronco's rule!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Lisa & Her Kids

Besides eating dinner at Macayo's with the Godemann clan the other evening, I also got a chance to visit my cousin Lisa (now Lisa Bloom) at her new home in the Phoenix area. She and her husband Corbitt are busy raising a family of three little tykes in the Sonoran Desert. Her kids are great fun, pretty well behaved, and impossibly cute and funny (see pictures).

My cousin Jonathan and I used to have tons of fun torturing Lisa to no end as children. Together we were a force unstoppable in the endless beligerent harassment of Lisa. We relentlessly heaped agonizing grief on Lisa. Who would have guessed she would put all those pranks behind us and be so kind and generous as to open up her home. Jonathan and I are probably lucky she's still talking to us!

In any event, they just had their home beautifully remodeled and have a great pool. The kids were all excited to get the mail because they would learn who their teachers were for the following year. If only my life could be so simple. Her oldest is Shannon. Then her son, Donovan, followed by her youngest daughter Peyton.
Lisa must be doing a pretty good job at the whole mom thing, because she's got three great kids that are fun to hang out with. Somehow she juggles swim team practice, piano lessons, soccer, and PTA meetings. Good thing she's got a minivan! Seriously though, Lisa's kids are great and you should consider yourself blessed if you ever get to meet them.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Crown King & The Senator Highway

I used my grandfather's Chevy Blazer to drive up to Crown King and then took the 3 hour long Senator Highway all the way to Prescott Arizona. It was quite a drive, with rain threatening flash floods the entire time. I agonized over the decision to do it, but ultimately did. I'm glad I lived in the moment and have absolutely no regrets.

To give some context,while returning to Prescott from Phoenix in my grandfather's truck along Interstate 17, I saw the exit approaching for Crown King and the Senator Highway. The Senator Highway would hardly qualify as such, and basically consists of a narrow, anfractuous, rugged dirt road that winds its way up and through the jagged Bradshaw Mountains. It is the only road that accesses the old mining town (village?) of Crown King that I know of and is a place that few people ever get to see due to its remoteness.

Slowly grinding up the highway, I previously recall going up near Crown King for some rock climbing with Jake Daley many years ago while working at Friendly Pines Summer Camp. I believe that was in 2001. Back then, we drove around the mountains for an hour. Then we drove almost another hour from I-17 to Crown King, but stopped just short to go up some rugged granite slabs for climbing. It was a good time, if hot and dry, and I only wished I had gone all the way into Crown King. But I was concerned about preserving the structural integrity of my rickety old Saturn, and felt I was pushing my luck driving further up the rugged road in the summer Arizona heat as it stood already. I was frankly surprised my little green machine made it through that trip as far as it did without a hitch.
This time though, I had my Grandfather's trusty Chevy Blazer! The Blazer's capacity for navigating 4WD roads in Arizona, ground clearance, engine cooling system, and general capacity for taking a beating in a brutal desert were all several orders of magnitude superior to the scrappy green sedan I used to ride around in. Today could be was my best chance. So I exited the Interstate and started up the mountain, only to see clouds roll in and hear the Arizona monsoon thunderstorms start 30 minutes later. I debated turning back, as I had no desire to get caught overnight behind a flooded creek bed on the wrong side of two canyons. But I was already 30 minutes off Interstate 17, and the thought of going back could prove just as risky, as the lower country and creek beds most likely to flood were behind me, and the higher mountains w in front.

I kept going, hoping to at least reach the minimal services in the booming metropolis of Crown King before being overtaken by any thunderstorm. Despite my misgivings about the weather (at times the rain was so intense I couldn't see 20 feet out the window). I kept following the spectacularly rugged and exposed track as it snaked precariously along a mountain ridgeline. As I finally pulled into Crown King after an hour of stressed nerves, the rain fizzled out into a light, pleasant drizzle. I could breathe a sigh of relief at last as the overcast clouds kept it cool enough to ease my concerns about an engine overheating. (not that I needed to worry about the Blazer, but this was one of the wilder parts of Arizona that leaves no margin for error)

Crown King was even more rustic and "historic" than I imagined. An old mining town settled over a century ago, it still lives in another era. With the exception of the late 1980's pickups (historic in their own right), the town is one of those rare places where isolation and distance have kept father time at bay for far too long. The town is still inhabited by "prospectors" who cling tenaciously to their "claims" and hope to strike it rich. The men in town wear long beards, cowboy hats, dirty overalls, and pistol revolvers. Not one paved road in the town or any building less than 40 years old. This was definitely the "Old West." In the end, I left what appeared to be the General store (and probably had been for the last 115 years) and headed on up to Prescott via the Senator Highway. Only 3o more miles and 3.5 more hours to Prescott!

The pace was a little faster than I had anticipated. I managed to do it in about 3 hours. I never had to use 4 wheel drive, but the constant twists and turns and washed out sections proved to be a constant impediment. This section of the Senator highway also didn't have quite the scenic views that the first half did. I got some great views of the mountains, but the valleys between them were smaller and the cloud cover impeded visibility. Lots of Piñon and Juniper Pine mixed in with lower desert flora. Dashes of scrub oak everywhere completed the palette that was pretty common in the foothills above the desert. Shockingly, quite a few Ponderosa pines still stood in the area. I would have figured the vicious drought of the last few years would have spelled the end to any of these majestic perennials this close to Phoenix, but a surprising number were still holding on.
I also passed the old Palace Station, an old US Forest Service lookout about an hour and a half outside Prescott. See pictures! After another hour or so of slow going dirt road, I wound up pulling into Prescott around 6:30, passing by Friendly Pines Camp. I made many good friends there and have many fond memories of working there. I debated stopping in to say hi, but I don't think anyone except maybe 3 or 4 would even remember me, and I wasn't sure if they were even still there. If I'd had more time, I might have done so, but as things stood, I needed to get the Blazer washed off and get back in time for Evorine's home cooking.

Visiting Ola and the Hansons

I went to Scottsdale to visit Ola and my longtime friends the Hansons. Regular readers from Arizona and longtime friends know Cathy and Craig Hanson were friends (and sometime roommates) of my parents at NAU during the Edo period. As a child growing up in Denver, I got to be good friends with David and Eric Hanson, who, like myself, are both Lumberjacks as well. They moved to Arizona when I was a kid, but our families have always kept in touch. During my time at NAU, I got to be good friends with David Hanson, and another guy named Ola Iranloye.

Coming from Nigeria, Ola is now a computer programmer at a software company in Phoenix. He and I used to hang out with another friend of mine in Flagstaff named Paul Brodar. I stopped in at the Hansons and got to visit with all of them. They served dinner to Ola and myself, while Ola and I consumed said dinner. It was a great arrangement! Seriously though, all of the Hansons are some of my dearest friends. Cathy Hanson in particular is one of the greatest conversationalists I know and is widely regarded as such among our circle of friends.

Eric is still doing his yearlong round the world mission trip with He is currently in Thailand if I'm correct. Check out his blog here.

David is working as a youth pastor at Crossroads Community Church in the Los Angeles area. I haven't seen him in over three years and I'm hoping I get to see him before shipping out to Kuwait. Here's to the Hansons! Cheers!

Flagstaff and Phoenix

After visiting with my grandparents on Sunday, I borrowed my Grandad's Chevy Blazer and drove up to Flagstaff, Arizona. I left early in the morning so that I could head back down to Phoenix that afternoon. Despite the occasional rain, it was a great drive.
During college I frequently drove 1.5 hours of interstate highway between Flagstaff, Prescott, and Phoenix. I never grew tired of the drive though. Anyone who's driven along I-17 near Flagstaff knows how pretty the Mogollon rim and Ponderosa forest on the Colorado plateau can be. The dramatic descent into the Verde Valley area also make it a worthwhile, if somewhat long commute.

Driving Grandad's Blazer proved to make the trip even more enjoyable. Long gone was my ancient Saturn SL1 and its nonexistent air conditioning system. Not that it was necessary. Flagstaff has been getting tons of needed rain, making the temperature perfect for an afternoon hike through the woods. Unfortunately, it began raining before I even left my vehicle for a jaunt through Sycamore Canyon. Rain alternated with sunshine for most of the day, as Arizona's only precipitation comes in the winter or during its "monsoon season" which takes place in late July and August.

While it ruined any chances at hiking I was glad to see the rain. During my time in Arizona several years ago, the state was enduring a terrible drought. Forest fires raged through the parched pine trees and bark beetles devastated drought stricken trees throughout the state. It was refreshing to see plump saguaro cactus in the desert and green grass with healty pine trees in the high country.

I wandered through the NAU campus to see some of the changes taking place. A new research building went up, as well as a new 3 story parking lot. They also are building a new dormitory right in the middle of a big grassy area. I wasn't too pleased with the last change.

After my walk through memory lane, I descended down into the desert, braving Phoenix traffic for a reunion with my cousins Jonathan, Jessica, Maralie, Lisa, Corbitt, and my Aunt Nancy. I crashed at Jonathan and Jessica's house for a night. Unfortunately, my Uncle David couldn't make it as he was off doing something with his boy scout troop. But we all had a good time hanging out at Macayo's and another locale. Macayo's also has top notch Mexican food in the Phoenix area. We all love them for their quesadillas.

Everyone seems to be doing well. I'm probably closest to my cousin Jonathan. He married Jessica a couple years ago and they live in Tempe with their three dogs. Jonathan's considering a career in law enforcement while Jessica seems eager to give up the rat race for a low key job working with animals. Unfortunately, my Aunt Nancy seems to be dealing with some health issues. We're all praying she starts to feel better.

Maralie is returning for her second year at Brigham Young University this fall. She still doesn't know what to do with her life. She has so many options ahead of her! I suggested she be one of the following:
1. Finish college and go to Japan to teach English and postpone major life decisions!
2. Drop out of BYU and become a craps dealer in Vegas!
3. Get an MBA in finance and become a sleazy wall street stock broker!
4. Become a hip hop rapper in the tradition of MC Hammer and Snoop Dog! Lobby BYU to offer classes in rap, hip hop, and R&B music appreciation!

Lisa and Corbit appear to be doing well also! They now have three children from 4 to 7 years old. Corbitt just returned from a business trip to London. More on their family later!

Prescott Arizona

I haven't lived in Prescott Arizona in about 6 or 7 years. I originally lived with my grandparents there and attended Yavapai College before transferring to Northern Arizona University. I enjoyed living there with my grandparents. While the development that has happened since I lived there is quite sad, Prescott seems to be getting rain, which should be good for the drought.
I flew into Prescott on Sunday morning where Grandad and Evorine picked me up from the airport.

I then drove them back to Prescott where they attended a Sunday school class business meeting with me. Their Sunday school class was much as I remembered, filled with cheerful old people. Their church seems to be undergoing some difficulties however. Their senior pastor left recently and young people seem to be leaving the church. They seem to be shrinking slightly and the leadership is trying to shake things up.

After that, we returned to their home in the Ponderosa forest. I had a great time visiting them and miss them a lot. They showed me pictures of my Grandad's 90th birthday celebration last year where all of the family and grandchildren were present, save myself. I wish I could have gone, but the distance and work demands made things impossible. Their Sunday school class had put on a huge production for his birthday, and Evorine flew out all the family for the epic event. Regardless, it was great to see them again and be reunited.

I also managed to visit hike up Thumb Butte, a popular natural spot that dominates the skyline of the sleepy little town of Prescott. I fondly recall hiking up there with friends and even my Grandad years ago. It also has some great rock climbing along its South face that I remember climbing with friends I've long since lost touch with. Here's to you Will Turnage and Jonathan Dunn!

Natsukashii desune.

Before I Forget.... Oze National Park

Before I completely forget about it and become engrossed in the myriad tasks before me, I should mention that one week before I left Japan, I visited my longtime friend Mie Ito, who now works in a lodge near Oze National Park in Japan. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Oze, it is a large alpine marsh located high in a mountain range in Southwest Fukushima. It borders Gunma and Niigata ken. All you really need to know is that it is a long drive from where I lived up in the mountains.
I drove three hours up through rain to see her and the beautiful park in which Mie resides and works. In one sense I lucked out, as a week of rain preceded and quickly followed the single day I spent with Mie and her friends from the lodge. In another sense I wasn't lucky, as I missed the blooming of the park's famous flowers by about 1 week.

I arrived late in the evening and Mie's co-workers were hospitable enough to let me stay at the lodge. The next morning, Mie and I hiked through famous Oze National Park. And it was definitely worth it. The pristine unspoiled forest and mountains swept down into a waterlogged marshland meandering through the mountains. The trail, constructed of cut timber sections, wandered through the marshland, and kept our feet from getting wet. Old people and photographers flock to see Oze's blooming flowers. They all bloom approximately 1 week after you arrive (late July). Bird watchers blow their bird calls and peer through binoculars at their avian friends.
It was a wonderful hike, if kind of quiet. Both Mie and I knew this was my last hu-rah. Nevertheless, I got some beautiful pictures. I hope you like them. I managed to make a few new friends in the area also. Mie's co-workers all turned out to be wonderful people. One girl named Mayumi, happened to be the aunt of a second year student of mine at Katahira JHS! Small world I suppose.

When I first arrived back in the USA, I found that I had received a letter from Mie and another friend of hers, Takao. I hope to come back again someday.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Days Under the Eastern Sun

This particular post was about 2 years in the making. Below is a highlighted collection of my positive memories and experiences during my three years in Japan. I've chosen all the best stuff and my most positive memories in this compilation. Most recent posts appear first, with special posts highlighted.

Oze National Park July 2007
Returning to America: Over the Pond: July 2007
Got the Visa!
Towa Road Race Half Marathon, July 2007
Parasailing at Goreibitsu Pass
Calvin & Hobbes in the Classroom
The Dali Museum in the Hills, June 2007
Very Bad Timing, June 2007
Engrish With the Art Club
Sakuranbo Half Marathon
Student Impressions of Me, June 2007
Teiden (Blackout)
My First & Last Funeral in Japan
Great Persons: Ito Mie
Rainy Season Blues, May 2007
Driving Lessons in the Country, May 2007
Growing Rice with Sanpei Sensei
Sending Hikari to Australia
Crazy Nut on the Phone
Great Persons: Sakuma Kyouto Sensei
Sailing Through Golden Week
Koriyama City Marathon
Sanpei Sensei & Hanami, April 2007
Shinzo Abe, Japanese PM, Comes to Koriyama, April 2007
Hiwada Park Cherry Blossoms, April
Job Hunting & A Party: March 2007
Japanese Junk Food
Skiing with the Hearing Impaired, March/Feb 2007
Okinawa Food
The Sake Factory & Ramen Alley Feb 2007
Ghenghis Khan in Sapporo
Brenden: The Human Bowling Ball in Sapporo
The Sapporo Yuki Matsuri, Feb 2007
Sampling Monja For the First Time
The Crazy English Language
English Camp Happened Awhile Ago, January 2007
The Beginning of the End
English Camps
Himeji Jo Castle and Hiroshima, December 2006
2006 Bon Enkai: Year End Party
Seasonal Road Closings & Fukushima Snow
Deadly Food Allergies in Japan, December 2006
Katahira JHS PTA Party, November 2006
Christmas Shopping in Sendai with Kumiko
Learning In a Taxi
Children's Ballet at the Bunka Centaa, November 2006
Shopping with Brenden & Debbie, November 2006
Sukagawa Fire Festival in November
Friends from Hanamaki
Multifarious Friday Night
Emerging Japanese Fluency
A Day in Nikko with Erika
Around the World Farewell Party
Motomiyamachi Festival & the Dashi, October 2006
Stretching with Students
School Festival Weekend
Japanese Rice Harvest, Fall 2006
Karaoke With 5 Year Olds, October 2006
Whale Meat for Lunch
Sailing Inawashiro with the Koriyama Yacht Club
Saturday At Xaverio JHS
Giant Japanese Wasps
Mount Adatara with the Japanese Class
Yanaizu & Enzou-ji with Jake & Junko
Basketball, Tennis, & Ping Pong
Tarako Pasta Sauce Commercial
New Japanese Driver's License, September 2006
Kamakura & the Daibutsu, Sept. 2006
Befuddled Old Coin Dealer
Coin Collecting & Kamakura
The Aerobics Instructor
My Weekend in Japanese, Sept 2006
September Festival in Hanamaki with Brenden Pitt
Motomiya Song at Japanese Class
Ohze Park Cactus House, July 2006
Lazy Summer Day in Koriyama, July 2006
First Half Marathon in Nihonmatsu in July
Last Saturday's International Day
Yamadera Last Week, June 2006
Crazy Weekend in the Cave, June 2006
Wedding Bells in Koriyama Fashion Show
The Sushi Taisho
Getting Warmer in Japan
8th Grader with a Business Card
My English Conversation Class
Letter from Hazuki, June 2005
Hiking in Sukagawa
Evening with Paipin from my Japanese Class
Today, May 2006
Koriyama City Chutairen in May 2006